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Illustration of a tread-wheel from James Mursell Phillippo's 'Jamaica: It's Past and Present State.', 1843

Whilst researching the Caribbean Views collection, I kept thinking about the women in my family. All of them were tough, ferociously independent-minded women, devoted to their children. Yet there would have been nothing to separate them from those other anonymous black women who were raped, hung by their wrists to be beaten, and had their children taken away to be sold. What on earth would have happened to them in this vast concentration camp? The thought gave me a sad, sick feeling, especially when reading the multitude of texts which set out to defend the institution. The bland fluency of the writers’ arguments, and the ease with which they ignored the suffering of their fellow human beings had a suffocating ring of complacency. In my own experience as a black migrant, I was all too familiar with that tone.

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